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Prudential Real Estate Investors, the estate investment management and advisory unit of Prudential Financial, Inc. (PRU - Analyst Report) has expanded its marketing team. The unit has recruited Dennis Martin managing director who will also be heading the U.S. marketing team.

Prudential’s expansion of its PREI marketing team is a strategic step in an effort to take advantage of the growth opportunities brewing in the rebounding real estate market in the U.S. Commercial real estate which is producing solid returns relative to other investment options.

This Commercial real estate growth is despite the improvement in fundamentals being slow. Moreover U.S. commercial real estate is seen as a safe haven by global investors and demand for prime assets remains far greater than supply.

After being a drag on the economy for several years, the housing market should turn into a source of growth. S&P/Case-Shiller1 Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that home prices had risen 4.3% in the 12 months ending in October. House prices are expected to continue to climb through the next year.

In October 2012, PREI raised $805 million for a fund investing in U.S. real estate debt.

PREI has been investing in real estate on behalf of institutional clients since 1970, with gross assets under management of USD $51.2 billion and net asset value of $34.6 billion, as of September 30, 2012.

Prudential Financial will release its fourth quarter 2012 earnings on Wednesday, February 6, 2013, after the market closes. The Zacks Consensus estimates earnings of $1.75 per share were down 11.3% from the actual earnings of $1.97 per share recorded in the year ago quarter.

Prudential’s stock retains a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold), we also maintain our Neutral recommendation on the company. Peers MetLife, Inc. (MET - Analyst Report), and American International Group Inc. (AIG - Analyst Report) also carry our long term Neutral recommendation.

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